MILAVIA > Specials > NATO Response Force Exercise Noble Midas 07 Last updated: 20 May 2009
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Exercise Report : NATO Response Force Exercise Noble Midas 07


NATO EXERCISE NOBLE MIDAS 07

Giampaolo Tonello reports on Noble Midas 07 maritime and amphibious exercise for the NATO Response Force, hosted and attended by Croatia.


From 27 September to 12 October, 2007, Croatia's coast was the scene of the largest and most important international military manoeuvre hosted by the country since its independence. It was also the first major NATO exercise hosted and supported by a non-member country and it is thought to be the ticket for Croatia to enter the NATO membership. Croatia hopes to receive an invitation to join NATO at its summit next year. The country has been part of the alliance's Partnership for Peace program since 2000 and has made efforts to modernize the army to meet NATO standards. One of the reforms recently approved by parliament is the abolishment of military draft to have a fully professional force of 16,000 instead of the current 21,000. Croatia, together with Italy, is a strategic country for keeping the Adriatic Sea and Balkan region safe.

Twelve NATO nations took part in this live exercise which involved 8,000-9,000 military personnel of NATO's Response Force, including 800 US Marines, and 40 warships, six submarines, one aircraft carrier, amphibious vehicles, 29 combat aircraft, 23 helicopters and nine other aircraft. NATO members taking part were Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, The Netherlands, UK, Romania, Spain, USA, Turkey, and NATO partner Croatia of course. About 250 Croatian military personnel participated in the manoeuvre with ten ships, two MiG-21 fighters, four Mi-8 helicopters and four PC-9 aircraft. Canada and the NATO partners Albania and Montenegro were observers.

Exercise Noble Midas 2007 set a scenario of a civil war in a fictitious country, in which the United Nations appointed the NATO Response Force (NRF) to react.
Such a scenario was more than just a scenario some years ago in the region. Noble Midas focused on maritime and amphibious operations by the NATO NRF to improve standards of interoperability and to test procedures among participating nations. It had to demonstrate how the NRF was progressing and certify the forces committted to the NRF.

For this exercise five French Navy Super Etendard Modernisée strike aircraft were deployed to Istrana AB, while five Turkish Air Force F-16s stayed at Cervia AB, both in Italy. We had the opportunity to enter Istrana and Cervia to see some of the action.

Thanks to SMA (Stato Maggiore Aeronautica) and NATO's CC-MAR HQ Naples (Allied Maritime Component Command Headquarters Naples) for the cooperation.

Report and photos by Giampaolo Tonello ( view portfolio )